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Thursday, 2 February 2012

child's play

Where yesterday the empty grey
of paving stones, today
two dead geckos and an iron lung.
Newly chalked, a river flows uphill -
to run along the elevated section by the shops,
and tumble down a flight of stone cold concrete steps
then plunge into a tortuous meander round the square.
It finds its end in its beginning - a chalk-drawn boating lake.
A ship of flowers descends the cataract.

Within the river-bounded space six colour coded paths
link numerous enclosures. All are unoccupied. Not so the iron lung.
From it the pink head of a mouse looks round to see what's what.
Look closer, though, you'll see it's not continuous
with what's inside! Decapitated patient in an iron lung!
On either side the gecko corpses smudged by rain.

At points along the chalked paths numbers seem to have
no purpose and no meaning. In some other landscape,
in another time, they might have been for hopscotch.
Scotch - or empty bottles that so recently were full -
stand guard by "number 10", and in a no-man's land of noughts
and crosses, scraps of stave lines and a note or two.

A mobile phone with painted face and paper skirt
is propped against the fence. In front of her
a faded flower and three rose petals ring a stone,
while just above the waterfall, dangerously close,
a tiny plastic baby on a matchbox raft.

Upon reflection, I am none too sure of that iron lung.
It's out of character, and people nowadays
are not au fait with iron lungs. I wonder... could it be...
the chalk is smudged again... a rocket launcher of a sort? That too,
is out of character... now with the children's characters. Heart
or skull? A something solid, made to keep souls live and lively
while fragile bodies do their earthly things?

I'm a tourist in a land I cannot grasp. I see a mix
of portents, charms and signs as in the world I know. They share
the same two mysteries. Creation: how and why.
First there was not, and then there was; a magic wand scenario: a wave,
a flash, and all is changed the way an island suddenly appears
at sea, crop circles on the land or new stars in the sky. At least
we know what those things are, or were, but this! Is this a game
that no one made and no one plays? Or is it an enchanted place?
Could I put on the body of a gecko, for example
(as one strange squiggle squiggled over might suggest)
like Russian dolls: body inside body, mind contained by mind?
I'm sure the mobile phone girl is a witch.
...............................
I am linking this to Gooseberry Garden's free link.

11 comments:

anthonynorth said...

Quite an exotic fantasy, laced with a creeping edginess. I like it.

Ash said...

Beautiful!

Marbles in My Pocket said...

I could probably read ths a hundred times and find something new in it. What a mind you have, Dave! And, yet, I know from my own interior ramblings, that it all makes perfect and ordered sense to you as you send it from brain, to hand, to page. Awesome write, man! Outstanding!

Manicddaily said...

I agree that urban blight a lot weirder than crop circles! So strange. You well convey the strangeness and dislocation. K>

Mary said...

I greatly enjoyed the last stanza especially, as it (to me anyway) kind of neatly sums up the context of the entire poem! But yikes, the cell phone girl a witch? Twilight Zone.

Daydreamertoo said...

Ahh... the magic and mystery of the minds of children. Isn't it fabulous where their imaginations can take them and know no bounds.
What a lovely magic carpet ride you took us all on. Wonderful!

Brian Miller said...

dude...quite the magic mystery tour..but then again look into a childs imagination and that is what it is full of...i agree on the closing stanza...

Windsmoke. said...

A Bonza walkabout through a child's mind at play. I'm not sure about the iron lung either, seems out of place :-).

Taylor Boomer said...

I am so glad to see you link to poetry picnic,

stunning poetry, smiles.

haricot said...

I used to have such magical world of childhood. You have it still now in your mind, Dave, it's wonderful!

Dave King said...

anthonynorth
I love your description. Thanks.

Ash
Much thanks for this.

Marbles in my Pocket
Well, I did have a lot of help from the children (or whoever) produced the layout! Thanks a lot for the kind words.

Manicddaily
Thank you for this, nice to know we're on the same lines.

Mary
Yeah, I'm sure she was - she had the look of it. Others must have thought so too, or someone would have pinched the phone, don't you think?

Daydreamertoo
I agree, but I'd also like to know how closely - or not - my interpretation of their art work would have coincided with their explication of it.

Brian
Except ye become as one of these... maybe should be the artist's mantra. Thanks for telling your thoughts.

Windsmoke
Yup, it just looked like an iron lung to me, but if it was done by a small(ish) child I doubt s/he would have known what an iron lung was or what it looked like.

Taylor
Hi, welcome to the blog, and many thanks for the comment.

haricot
Thanks for this. Being around children keeps you younger, I suppose.